anyone interested in a DIY canister filter thread? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 02:04 AM Thread Starter
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anyone interested in a DIY canister filter thread?

So here's the deal. I built a canister filter (we will see if/how well it works in the next couple days)Had I done a little more reading, and a little more number crunching, I would have just bought one. Would have cost the same price, or maybe just a LITTLE more expensive. But not much. nonetheless, I suppose there can be upsides to building your own as well.
I wanted to be able to see all my filtering media at a glance. I do.
I wanted to be able to use the siphon for water changes. I can.
I want to some day add co2 to the mix, which will be no problem.
I want to be able to add activated carbon to the mix in case I need to get rid of medications in the future.
I wanted to test my engineering skills. I did... I get the grade tomorrow when I fill her up!
I wanted something DIY, just so I can point to it and say "yep, my design... built it myself too"
And it was a fun, easy project. I'm also probably going to add a heater inside it, to work as an in-line heater.

And now, done with the ramblings, ON with the questioning!!!

Does anyone care?

hehe... let me rephrase

Would anyone like pics, or a tutorial on how to build a canister filter? (assuming this one works correctly once it's installed) I mean, they are pretty straight forward, but there are a few tricks that one might want to know, and really, any feedback from folks with more experience than me (almost everyone here) would be appreciated.

And maybe this will end up as how NOT to build a canister filter. Let's see if my pipe joints don't explode, valves don't leak, and seals don't turn into spray bars.

Well, that's my spiel/question. Any further comments or questions can be directed at me, or my fish who's lives will be put in jeopardy tomorrow evening.
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post #2 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 02:36 AM
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Sure why not.

Last edited by bobalston; 02-23-2011 at 05:37 PM.
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post #3 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 02:51 AM
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ill read and absorb as much detail as you are willing to write. i am considering building one myself soon when/if i finish all of my other projects.

what did you use to build it?

how big is the tank you will be filtering?

what media and pump are you using?

and show me all the pics you can be bothered uploading


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post #4 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 03:19 AM
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Sounds neat! Pictures would be nice, i am curious now as to what this looks like.

If you peer into the glass, and look real close, you can see my soul!
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post #5 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 03:26 AM
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Spill the beans. Nothing better than a good DIY thread.
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post #6 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 05:19 AM
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I'd like to see what you've done also. I've been considering a DIY see-through canister.


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post #7 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-23-2011, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, I'm at work right now, but I'll take some pics tonight of everything. They'll probably be uploaded tomorrow or the next day.

What I used to build it: two rubbermaid containers with a latch on each side (4 total) I've heard these work pretty well, with regard to leaks. We'll see...

The tank I'm filtering is only 10 gallons. I'm planning on upgrading to something MUCH larger once we move in about a year and a half. I may have to swap the pump out with something larger, but I think this filter will be big enough for a much larger tank. Also, there are two main reasons I wanted a canister filter for this tank. Every Sunday, when I do water changes, there is always a little ammonia in the tank, and nitrates are pretty high. Basically, I bought too many fish for the tank, (just got started in the hobby this summer, didn't know any better) and now it's overstocked. All the fish have plenty of room to swim, because most of them are nocturnal, but that doesn't change the bio-load. So I need a really good filter to help take care of this extra ammonia and nitrate.
Also, I have a stone wall for a background, and it keeps getting covered in silt/sand. I made a vertical spray bar which will blow water through the holes in the stone wall, therefore cleaning it of any debri (hopefully) Hence a gallon canister filter for a 10 gallon tank.

Prefilter media is Hagen Fluval External Power Filter Media (ceramic)
Mechanical filter is about 3 inches of filter floss
Bio filter is Fluval bio max

Question on this, does this sound like a good set up? I just kinda guessed, and figured this would be a good combination. Any thoughts?

And the pump is a hydor 160 gph pump. Now, 160 gph, in a perfect world, would circulate the water 16 times in an hour. But after pulling it through all the filtering media, valves, etc. I'm hoping on hitting 80 gph. We'll see.

Pics to come! And if the filter actually works the way I plan, there's no leaks, etc. Then I'll put together a step by step on how I did it. Although, any average DIYer will be able to look at the pics, and see what was done.
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post #8 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Alright, so I have never... ever... failed at something so amazingly. The rubbermaid lock-its containers, don't seal. AT ALL! They are more built to keep things from splashing out of a container, then to keep things water tight. Also, the 160 gph pump that I have, won't hardly pump any water whatsoever. There might be vapor lock somewhere in the line, but it doesn't really matter since the containers won't seal. I'm debating wether or not to get a piece of 4 inch PVC, and making another one, or just throwing in the towel (NOT very common for me). But as this project has cost almost as much as a canister filter in the first place, and doesn't work... it kinda seems pointless to bring this frankenstein back from the dead, when I can buy a Marilyn Monroe for the same price.

I can salvage the plumbing, and I haven't cut the acrylic tubing yet, so that is good to go. But I would need a new pump, pvc, and a few more fittings... I can still put together a thread on how to NOT build a canister filter, I suppose.
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post #9 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 08:47 PM
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GL finding a way around your problems! PM me about this thread when you have it up and running! GL!

Happy plantkeeping!
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check it out!!!! -->

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post #10 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 09:54 PM
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Handling water pressure is a key point of failure in canister filter DIY projects.

take a look at this thread

http://www.aquaticplantcentral.com/f...r-not-pvc.html

Bob
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post #11 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
it kinda seems pointless to bring this frankenstein back from the dead, when I can buy a Marilyn Monroe for the same price.
Marilyn Monroe sure might look pretty, but you can say you built frankenstein.

Keep it up and im sure youll solve your problems.


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post #12 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-25-2011, 11:55 PM
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Successful DIY canister filters are rare, from what I read here and in other forums. Unless you can tolerate dumping a tankful of water on the floor I don't think making a canister filter is a good idea. They are not overpriced, considering what they do, and there is a range of prices on them.

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post #13 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 01:19 AM
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If you make your own lily tubes for the intake and outflow I bet you'll save a ton. I haven't seen any reasonable prices for these items.

http://www.rickwrench.com/index79mas...gpicotope.html

This guy has a cool diy canister, not sure if the link will work due to frames.
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post #14 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-26-2011, 11:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VaultBoy View Post
Marilyn Monroe sure might look pretty, but you can say you built frankenstein.
That's the best defense of DIY I've ever heard! So many people think DIY is always about saving money.


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post #15 of 55 (permalink) Old 02-27-2011, 12:47 AM
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The problem with DIY canister filters is always sealing it.
Purchase a used stainless steal pressure cooker.
Drill and tap, or weld connectors in place.
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